Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 30--Finito!

You can't see me but I'm doing the happy dance. I just finished. I pounded out the end, caught the murderer, and justice was done. Well, more or less. This feels good.

Daily total: 2,029 words
Final total: 50,407 words

It's snowing. Ugh.
--Barbara

Done


I worked and worked today and I finished the Phoenix Tears Scarf. I like it--I think. It wasn't hard or expensive since I did not use Colinette yarns but put together fiery and feathery yarns that were in my budget. And it's snowing. Ugh.

Day 29--WooHoo!

Congratulations, Jennifer! I knew you could do it. Way to go. and now you have something substantial to hold up one leg of your bed or tippy table (if you print it out). That's about what I feel my manuscript is worth today. But as you say, someday down the road we'll look at this pile of writing and make it into something someone might want to read.

Daily total: 2,079 words
Running total: 48,378 words

I'm down to the wire but I'm confident. I should make us a cake for Thursday to celebrate. You like chocolate? Allergic to anything?

--Barbara

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty I am Free at Last!!!

I did it!!!! I busted my hump, my bump, and whatever else I needed to bust to reach Nanowrimo success!

My total word count as of two minutes ago is 50,039. I know it is not done, but for now it is done. I will come back to it one day to smile, to grimace, to laugh and maybe to hurl at how crappy it is...but it is done!

Go Barbara go!!!!! Go Barbara go!!!! You can do it girl!!! Go Barbara go!!!!

Feasting & Knitting



We had a lovely Thanksgiving at my brother's house. The food was good and bountiful, and the service was excellent. And Colton was camera-shy, as are all 14 yr. olds, but Uncle Durwood sneaked up on him. He's growing up too fast. (Colton, not Uncle Durwood, he doesn't seem to have grown up at all.)











After the meal
Grandma and Diego stayed out of the way while the rest of us played Wii Bowling and Andy tried his hand at Wii Boxing.










While waiting for my turn at Bowling I knitted a hat for Mom to give her friend but nobody took my picture and I forgot to take a picture of the finished hat before giving it to Mom, but here's the parts and I promise to take a picture before she gives it away.

It was a fun day.


I've been knitting along on the Phoenix Tears scarf. I'm into the Boa section which will segue into the feathery plumes and tears in 8 inches or so. It's going to be cool looking and I can see I'm going to want to make it again to try out other ideas I have about it's composition. Can't follow the pattern too closely, you know.

Days 27 & 28--Not Much Writing, Followed By A Lot

Well. Only 2 more days to go on this NaNo thing and I've got to write two thousand words a day for each of them and, to be honest, I just don't want to. But I will, even if I have to cheat and repeat myself. I have ideas about how the story will go, Don and I even brainstormed the detecting part on our drive to Sheboygan on Thursday, but I'm just not motivated to put it on paper. But I will. Later. Cross my heart.

Daily total (Thursday): 513 words (my worst yet)
Daily total (Friday): 2,206 words (much better)
Running total: 46,301 words

Jennifer, I trust you are bearing down toward the giant shining glow of 50K that I can see hiding behind the November 30 page of my calendar. Come on, we can do it! We are women, hear us roar! We're writers too, even scarier.

--Barbara

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 26--Writing While The Bread's Baking

I planned to write at work today but 22 cartons of gear arrived by FedEx. Twenty-two, people, I had a fort built in the back room that I called Fort Deep See (the company that sent all the boxes) and Mr. Boss came in to take a bunch of it to store at his house and I couldn't do my usual routine of work a little, write a little, work a little, write a little. So I got a lot of unpacking boxes, entering the items into the computer, tagging them, and putting them away done but not a lot of writing. Grr. So once supper was over (yummy tilapia fillets with homemade salsa baked to perfection by Chef Don with steamed home grown baby carrots alongside) I wrote a bit, then got the onion bread started, wrote a bit, punched the dough down, wrote a bit, formed the loaves, wrote some more. Now I've decided that I'm done writing for the night and will just knit until the bread's done--about midnight. Bread always takes longer than I think it will.

Jennifer, I'm very glad you joined our group. Your excitement and enthusiasm have injected new life into our exercises. It's very satisfying to have someone be so willing to jump into the deep end with us and start swimming. I can't wait to read your next submission.

Daily total: 2,254 words
Running total: 43,582 words.

Line of the day:
Checking the clock he realized that it was nearing one o’clock in the afternoon. He had missed lunch and supposed that Mister and Missus Clark (cluck, Rooibos caught himself thinking of the chickens that lived next door to him. A laugh shorted out his nose but he got control of himself with an admonishment not to slip and call the American witnesses Mister and Missus Cluck. He needed a vacation, he decided, as soon as this case was done.) were either napping after lunch or out at a dive site.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I'm thankful to have a group of writing friends who are willing to put up with my weirdness and angst.
--Barbara

Twas the night before Turkey Day.....

The pecan pie is out of the oven, the guinea pigs and Shelby (Shelbert/Bert) have been fed and I have nothing to do until I head to my parent's house tomorrow for the big feast, but write my Nanowrimo work.

I just wanted to take a moment to let the three of you know how thankful I am to be a part of your fantastic writing group.

Thank you for welcoming me into the group with such open hearts, minds, and notebooks.
Thank you for challenging me to become a better writer with the brilliant work the three of you create.
Thank you for such fun, stimulating activities that bring out ideas in me I never would have thought of before.
But most of all, thank you for your friendship. You do my heart and my creative soul good.

I wish you all a very Safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Scarf!


The Phoenix Tears Scarf is looking cool, although I sort of wish I had figured out how to gradually add the orange Fun Fur rather than have an abrupt change but I like it. I carried the Squiggles into the orange a couple of rows so that doesn't just stop. Next I want to work in the Boa which looks like muppet eyelashes and its color name is Phoenix. Coincidence? I think not.

Everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving and eat too much of everything. You know you're going to do that anyway, now you have permission. It's only once a year.


Day 25--Slowest Day Yet

I got focused on doing errands and chores around the house and my writing suffered. I did write--a tiny bit--but nowhere near what I should have. (but I did get the lawnmower and snowblower exchanged) Oh well, in 5 more days the torture will be over and I can go back to my misanthropic ways. Only 8,672 words and I will be released from this bondage. Hallelujah!

Daily total: 574 words (shameful!)
Running total: 41,328 words

Everybody have a Happy Thanksgiving! Don't eat too much pie. On second thought, go ahead, eat too much pie. Eat too much everything. It's only once a year.

--Barbara

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 24--You Go, Jennifer!

Wow. How cool is it that you got an inspiration in the middle of the night? Just like a "real" writer! I've had a bit of a crisis of motivation the last couple of days. "Eh, been there, done that" sort of thing, but I guess I'm too stubborn or block headed to let it beat me. No stupid self-imposed goal is going to get me down! No siree! I'm fighting every word of the way, even if it's trite and cliche ridden and... and stupid. My word count's caught up and I'm detecting, and I will triumph. *dances like Rocky at the top of the steps with music swelling* (oh, wait, that's Don playing the Wii) Nevermind. *ahem* It seems oddly backwards that I wrote the murder, I know who did it, and now I've ushered the detective onstage and he hasn't got a clue. I like him and I feel sorry for him that he's gotta grope around in the dark following red herrings and suspecting all the wrong people for the next few days. Poor Detective Inspector Joachim Rooibos. But next Saturday or maybe Friday, he'll find the last clue, put all the pieces together, and cart Manning off to the pokey, leaving a day or so for me to mop things up and tie all the loose ends into a pretty bow. Or not. But that's my plan so far.

Monday's daily total: 945 words
Running total: 40,754 words

--Barbara

A Break Through!

For about a week now I have really been struggling with this novel, I mean REALLY struggling. I have done everything to get my word counts up from doing a childhood flashback with my MC; introduction of a pet; to even bringing in a character WAAAAAYYYYY too early and then just letting him sit because I did not know what to do with him. All in the name of meeting my word quota....but as I said from the start...this is CRAP!

But this morning, at 4:00 am (yes, I can no longer sleep because of this looming deadline), it hit me! I think I found a way to tie up this novel and it's made things a little easier for me.

So, I got that going for me...which is nice!

Total Word Count: 41,719
Total Words Remaining: 8,281
Total Days Remaining: 5

Go Barbara Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ack!



We had 2.7 inches of snow last night! Durwood thinks it makes the apple tree look like it's decorated for Christmas. I think it looks like slippery roads and wet pants legs at work.





After months of resisting, I succumbed to the lure of the Phoenix Tears Scarf. I got some Squiggles yarn at Loops & Links on Saturday and that was the final ingredient that made me cast on last night. I have been looking at novelty yarns ever since I got the book trying to find the perfect feather and fire looking yarns and I think I've got them. We shall see. (Besides, I had to have some blog-able knitting, didn't I?)






Oh, and here's Durwood with his Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake pie. All I can say is, YUM.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pulling Teeth is Less Painful

Well so much for my get to Sunday's count before Sunday....I just got caught up now at 8:40 pm and I am exhausted. Only 6 more days of this ride. I am anxious to write about other things and I think it will be a while before I go back through my story and do some serious editing and researching. I am glad I jumped on this challenge, but it is HARD to balance everything!

Ok...enough whining.....Thank you Barbara for your words of wisdom and your creative offerings...your story is amazing!

Jenny - thank you for being such a great cheerleader to both Barbara and I. We could not have done it without you!

Total Word count: 38,418

Day 23--The Detective Finally Has Something To Detect

I have too much pre-murder story and not enough post-murder. I have left myself only a week for Detective Inspector Rooibos to sift through all the clues and red herrings and find out who killed Jack. We already know, of course, but we're not telling. I may actually get to "the end" by the 30th or I may not. Whichever way this turns out I'm glad I did it again. I think.

Daily total: 1,703 words
Running total: 39,809 words

Write on!
--Barbara

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Day 22--Rest In Peace, Jack, You S-O-B.

Jack, the man we love to hate, is back in the food chain and not at the apex either. This evening after supper I finally let Manning jerk Jack off the bluff into the merciless air and watched him fall, silent and flailing, onto the jagged rocks at the water's edge. He was then washed, unconscious, into the sea so that Sam and Maxi can find him in the morning a few dive sites up the shore after his having spent the night as fish food. Now, finally tomorrow Detective Inspector Rooibos can come onstage and begin his sharp-eyed detecting, sort through the red herrings and focus on the murderer before NaNoWriMo ends on November 30. Dun-dun-dun.

Daily total: 1,803 words
Running total: 38,106 words

--Barbara

It's been real, Jack...

Jack wakes up this morning in a cold sweat. He gets out of bed and sets the percolator to brewing, but when the coffee is ready, he finds he can't drink it. Today the caffeine only jangles his nerves more, and Jack paces the floor with the cup in his hands if only for the calming feeling of warmth. His stomach today isn't right; his shoulders are tight. Somehow Jack can't shake the awful feeling: today he will die.

Hey, Barbara, you've inspired fan fiction. Ha!

So I thought I found the perfect little magazine for my story about the husband who gives birth to the little man, and I sent it off to them all hopeful. They specialize in surrealism/magic realism, and I believe they like the twisted. Perfect match, right? Bah! I got a nice little personal rejection yesterday that said that they enjoyed the story and that it was well written blah-blah, but in the end they found it was just too similar to the Charles Bukowski story featuring a miniature man and a woman's no-no-naughty-place. Now I'm all for stealing fantastic ideas when I know I'm doing it (epileptic prophets and a certain spin-a-lator come to mind here...), but it comes as a blow to find that I've unknowingly stolen. This is why I should read more. Humph!

Keep writing you two crazy nanoers! Jennifer, how's the progress on the ahead-by-Sunday plan?

Jenny

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 21--Getting Closer To The Edge

Didn't happen today, maybe tomorrow. Your days are numbered, Jack.

Line of the day:

The ancient limestone thrusts its jagged and tortured bones above the sea that swirls angrily at its base. The grinding waves shove broken pieces back and forth, polishing them into a semblance of smoothness. You can tell how long the pieces have been exposed. The dark just-revealed parts grasp the skin like Velcro, leaving hundreds of tiny cuts behind; the older pieces are smooth and bleached nearly white. Underwater when a Parrotfish takes a bite of coral for the juicy polyps it contains the scar left behind is white. But the cliffs that bare themselves to the pounding waves are nearly black. The dark color lends an air of menace to the already forbidding rocks that jut like rotten jagged teeth from the foaming salty saliva of the earth.


Okay, it's a little "artsy" but you need a bit of that with the drama if only for a breather.

Keep writing, Jennifer.

--Barbara


Enchante Avec Beret



(Translation: I like how the beret turned out.) I thought it was going slowly but it finished very quickly, I realize now, because I was afraid I would run out of the gray yarn so I knit faster to finish before I did run out. (Wha???? I don't know, but that's what it seemed like.)

I highly recommend this pattern. (It's the House
Beret from Charmed Knits.) It's very straightforward, no tricky maneuvers to increase or decrease, and the top ends up looking awesome. See?

Next I need to get the address from Chocolate Sheep so I can get these Connor Caps on their way to their new owners.


*whispering* This ends the part of my WIPs I can show you. The rest is stealth knitting. I promise to cast on something blog-able later so you're not bored.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day 20--Not Many Customers

So I typed on my story, straight onto the computer, not on Alphie which I can't download at work. Things are heating up and the story is zooming along. I have to remember to put other people in besides Jack and Mona but it's hard because I'm so focused on their deteriorating relationship and Jack's mounting trouble with Manning. I'm looking forward to this weekend when I can kill Jack off and get to the detecting. Geronimo!

Line of the day: Jack had driven away from the villa early too. He had gotten up to the turn off at Boca Onima where Manning had showed him he could see the boat at the wreck site from shore and then his vehicle had stalled. That’s the last thing he remembered. He lay at the foot of the Willemstoren lighthouse steps, pieces of broken coral flung onshore by the last storm digging into his back. He wasn't at all sure how he got there and had no idea how he would get back to his villa.

Daily total: 2,196 words
Running total: 34,833 words

See you in a few hours, you guys. I'm pumped.
--Barbara

Day 19--The Plot Thickens

Manning has Jack's money and now Jack is looking for results. Things are moving faster and soon there'll be blood on the water. Ooh! This is when it gets to be fun. Fast and fun. I'm looking forward to the weekend when I predict big things happening.

Line of the day:
Once Jack got the hundred grand transferred into Manning’s bank account he started looking for results, hounding Manning for details, times, places. He wanted to have something, some recovered metal encrusted with barnacles, a piece of cannon shot, a tankard, something, anything that he could touch and feel the hundreds of years on it. Manning was shocked and a bit unsettled by Jack’s vehement insistence that he be kept informed of every single move that was made.

Daily total: 1,705 words
Running total: 32,639 words

See you tonight, submission in hand.
--Barbara

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Santa Came Early!


See? We played most of the afternoon. I did knit a few rows and I did write my word quota for the day but we Wii-ed. And we Wii-ed. I fully expected to get up this morning to find Durwood sacked out in the living room with a Wii controller dangling from his wrist.

Thanks, Santa! I musta been a really good girl this year. And it said in the paper this morning that Wii games are good for motor skills, strength, flexibility and balance. So it's a fitness tool. Not a toy.

Day 18--Wheeee!

Yesterday's program got interrupted. Santa came! He went to Walmart and bought us a Wii. We had to set it up (with only one phone consultation with David) so we could bowl the afternoon away. I did write halfway to my word goal in the morning and wrenched myself away after supper to finish, but we Wii-ed and we Wii-ed. I made sure that the TV volume control works with the Wii because I do not want to wake up in the middle of the night and hear the sound of bowling pins or golf clubs since Don's in the habit of being up in the night and he's definitely hooked on the Wii. I fully expect to wake up one morning to find him sacked out in the living room with a Wii controller dangling from his hand.

Line of the day:
Jack relented, took his refilled glass, settled back on the cushions of his lounge, and prepared to fill Mona in on his deal with Manning. “Okay,” he said and he actually rubbed his hands together. I never knew people actually did that, thought Mona. Jack when on. “Manning and this spic guy, Santiago…” “You mean Hispanic, right? Or Venezuelan?” He flapped his hand at her, “Yeah, yeah, whatever. Anyway, Santiago’s a fisherman and he got a line caught on something so he talked to his pal Manning and took him out there to scuba dive to see if he, Manning that is, could retrieve his fishing tackle. Manning says when he got down there he could not believe his eyes. There was a shipwreck, and not some modern one either, an old one, a real old one, just rotting away down there.

Didn't I tell you Jack was a toad? Good for you, Jennifer, for wrestling those words into submission. Keep going! We can do it!

Daily total: 1,727 words
Running total: 30,936 words

See you tomorrow night!
--Barbara


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Only 12 days to go, Ladies...

...and you can do it! Go! go! go!

Tonight is a Freebie!!!!

I got a free night of writing under my belt as my plans for the evening changed at the last minute. It allowed me to switch gears and try to bring my plot back on track, although I would still strongly encourage seatbelts as well as a neck harness. I am NOT responsible for whiplash on this piece of fiction that I try to craft!

Word Count Today: 2,026
Word Count Total: 30,459

I know I am not there yet, but I am already proud of myself for reaching 30,000+ words. I can't wait until November 30th when I can call myself a novelist.

'Nother Conner Cap


The Connor Cap turned out so cute and took so little time that I decided to make a Beret too, but use the pearl gray as the main color. See? It's turning out cute too. Next comes 3 more rows of the cadet blue then I'll finish it with the gray. I'm liking it alot. Hope the recipient does too. Wouldn't you love to see the faces when the hats are given out? Me too.

Gotta go. It's time to start piling up my NaNoWriMo words for today.

Day 17--Groovin' Along

Yesterday it was hard to make myself write but I did and I like what I wrote. I'm heading into totally new territory so I'm having to work harder at it (and I do like to pamper myself with easy stuff, you know) but I'm pulling myself up by my bra straps, putting on my big girl panties, and getting on with the story. *snort* Man, I do amuse myself.

Jennifer, as far as a lesson goes, maybe do a little online research or find a chapter in a writing book that speaks to some aspect of writing you're struggling with, figure out a worksheet or a summary, then teach it to us with an example and a writing exercise. I almost always focus my "lessons" on whatever writing thing is getting the best of me at the time. As you can probably guess by now, we're pretty game for anything. Even if you just bring us some prepared exercises, that'll be fine too.

Line of yesterday:
Mona wondered how Manning had gotten his reputation as a ladies’ man. She thought he was good looking enough if you did not look too closely and he did have an air of rakish adventure about him but now that Susan had warned her about his dishonesty she knew that she was in no danger of falling prey to his charms. Jack was in a great mood when she got in. “Hey, baby,” he said from the patio. “Hop into a bikini, and come on out here. I have a pitcher of rum drinks we can share.”

Daily total: 1,366 words (a bit short)
Running total: 29,209 words

Jack is turning into a real toad--but I like it.
--Barbara



Monday, November 17, 2008

Slow and Steady.....

I feel like my novel has just taken a turn into the absurd, but I know that after November 30th, I can go back and make it make sense. Let's just say it seems like a ridiculous Hollywood screenplay....oh well!

Word Count to date: 28,433

Let me know if there is a lesson you want me to bring to club on Thursday...I'm at a loss, but want to do my part as leader (no more claiming to be the new kid!).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day 16--Sinus

My $%^&# sinuses decided to fill up today so my face aches and my teeth hurt. Not very good for cranking out novel bits, but I persevered by sprinkling M&Ms on my keyboard and telling myself I could eat them when I hit them. Mmm, not really but I do have a little jar of the dark chocolate ones conveniently located right next to my laptop. I make no promises about the coherence of any of this.

Thanks for the peek between the covers, Jennifer! Poor little guy. Sounds like his life is in turmoil if he can't eat his second hot dog. How cute is that. Everybody has no word days or few word days. I try not to get more than one day's worth of words behind when I fall off the writing wagon.

Daily total: 1,742 words
Running total: 27,843 words

Oh, Jenny & Jennifer, I checked the schedule and according to it Jennifer is leader on Thursday, but maybe you can bring your lesson, Jenny, just in case Jennifer gets too busy.

--Barbara

It was a weekend of words....

It was the perfect weekend to get caught up as I went two days with little to no writing...for shame, for shame!

The story is taking twists I had never even considered, but it is kinda fun to see where this work is taking me. As of now, the total word count is 27,685. I cannot believe the month is now half over and we only have 13 more days left in this crazy challenge.

To appease my fellow writer's, here is a brief snippet of my work...it is untitled as of yet, but I'm sure that will come to me at some point.

*****
Michael grabbed the second hotdog on his plate with his left hand and tapped it against his lips a few time deep in thought about what his father had told him. “Daddy, did Mommy get sad because of me? Does Mommy need to be alone because of me?”

Pain ran through Allan’s heart hearing the honest questions from his son. Children are so much smarter than we give them credit for, Allan thought to him in amazement. “Champ, your Mommy loves you and just needs time to herself. That is all.”

Michael took a small bite of his hotdog, placing the remainder back on his plate and chewed silently. “Daddy, can I be excused? I am not very hungry now.”

“Sure Champ. What are you going to do now?”

“I just need to be alone for a little while Daddy. Like Mommy.”

Allan just nodded his head watching his son head upstairs to think about yet another bad hand that life had dealt him.

I Quit...












making Special Olympics scarves because I finally ran out of acrylic yarn to make them out of. I was determined last night to crochet until all of the wh
ite and blue worsted was in the scarf and I did it. Whew. I love them too. I can picture the looks on the organizers' faces when they open the box thinking that I didn't knit by the rules, but then I picture six young women athletes being thrilled with their boa-like scarves, very Theda Bara, as my Grandma Babe would say. A girl can't have too many fluffy scarves in her life.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pat(s?) on the back(s?)

Barbara, consider this a pat on the back. Nice work. I knew you could do it. And ahead when you're halfway through writing an entire novel in one measly little month? Don't poo-poo the amount, that's something to whoop and holler about!

Jennifer, I can just feel in my gut and soul that you get a pat on the back, too, but do share! Where are you at? Let us celebrate and/or commiserate with you!

Jenny

One Cap Finished



I had to knit a bit after I finished writing my word quota last night and I finished the Connor Cap just before midnight. I wove (weaved?) in the tails this afternoon after finishing today's words and here it is all ready to keep some boy's head warm this winter. I used Lion Wool in Cadet Blue, Pearl Gray, and Goldenrod, and the House Hat pattern from Charmed Knits. I like it so much I think I'm going to make a House Beret from the same source using the gray as the main color. Who knew there'd be a shade of blue that I like?

Day 15--Caught Up!

Yahoo! Things went well today, so well that I'm even a little ahead, only about a thousand words but, hey, ahead is ahead. I have a much clearer picture of the entire story and am feeling much better about the whole thing. (You and I both know that this feeling will not last so I'm making the most of it while it lasts.)

Line of the day:
Gray skies hung over the island. No wind stirred the palm fronds or blew away the sticky humidity. Everything was a struggle in the still air; tempers were frayed. Jack closed himself in his office and moodily checked his emails and tracked his investments online while waiting for someone, anyone, to bring him coffee. Mona made herself a cup of tea with an herbal teabag she found in the kitchen and stood sipping it as she watched the little tendrils of humidity rise in the first shafts of sunlight that peeped through the clouds. Manning woke with a smile on his face and whistled while he shaved.

Daily total: 3,547 words
Running total: (drum roll, please) 26,101 words

Yee! Haw! *ahem* I'm very pleased with myself today.
--Barbara

Capping

Wednesday evening I cast on for the Connor Cap. I tried circular needles but they made my hands ache so I switched to DPNs. Those were a teensy bit short for the number of stitches so I had to buy some longer ones at Patti's Thursday (along with a couple skeins of yarn, of course, since I can't be in a yarn shop and not buy yarn, it would be rude. Besides I wanted it so I can knit more Meathead hats with some sale yarn I got in Missoula. I'm not just buying yarn willy nilly, oh no, not me, I would never do that. [yeah, right, Barbara, pull our other leg]). I knit a bit on the Connor Cap Thursday night at knit night, but mostly I spent the time reading the first few pages of my novel, Horizon, to the knitting crowd. That was a terrific idea as they loved it, showered me with praise, and rekindled my enthusiasm for going over the manuscript for typos (the only thing left to do) and then mustering up my guts and starting to work to find an agent. Ooh, scary. But having the Horizon manuscript ready for publication is my second 2008 resolution and since I accomplished the first one (knit myself a sweater) I feel like I should, for the very first time in my life, accomplish this one too. Go me! I can do it!

I'm doing NaNoWriMo again. National Novel Writing Month for those unfamiliar with it. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel manuscript in 30 days. We're shooting for quantity rath
er than quality here, folks, but it's still an uphill climb. I'm nearly halfway toward the goal, which is good since today's the 15th, and so am fitting my knitting around bouts of writing. But it's fun to be doing both of my favorite hobbies one after the other, kind of like tag-team hobbies. Anyway, after all that rambling, here's a picture of the Connor Cap as it was last night.



(Sorry to talk your ears off this morning but I'm feeling pretty darned good because Don's off on a little overnight and I'm pretending it's the old days. He'll be back later today and we'll both like each other a lot better for a while until we know it's time for him to go away for one night again. Hey, it works for us.)

Day 14--MUCH Better

Yesterday I got half caught up. I tell you, you guys, when I'm smart enough to write the way I know works for me, I get it done. Write a bit, knit a bit, write a bit, do a chore, write a bit, get some exercise, write a bit more, etc. And I upped my enthusiasm for the story by having coffee with an old, old friend and telling her all about it. She was enthralled and so excited about red herrings and all the possibilities for suspects that I fell completely in love with my story again.

Thanks for the encouragement, Jenny, and for the links. I'll check out the writing contest and the McSweeney's prompts.

Line du jour:
He thought that Jack was a prime candidate for his first investor. A guy like Jack, with a lot of money and who thinks he is a big shot, was the perfect target for a get rich quick scheme where he did not have to do any of the work. He could walk around all cocky telling people that he was a treasure hunter, pretend that he was someone like Mel Fisher who found a Spanish galleon off the Florida Keys, wear a doubloon on a gold chain, and generally be unbearably insufferably egotistical about the whole thing. Manning had spent years working the angles, ferreting out the people who could do him the most good for the least effort on his part, and knowing when it was time to pull up his anchor and sail away.

Daily total: 2,413 words (a new high!)
Running total: 22, 558 words (only 775 behind!)

Keep writing! I'm gonna.
--Barbara

TGIF?

At least for you non-retail folks, I'm thinking. I, on the other hand, have to work all weekend, but it's okay because I had a TGIT (Thank Goodness It's Tuesday) with two days in a row off after that. It was my own personal weekend, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Barbara, I have faith in your weekend writing abilities. You'll be ahead in no time, and caught up in less than no time, if I've done the math right. Jennifer, how's it coming for you? I predict you'll be caught up before you know it, too.

Okay all, check out this site for a free writing competition: http://www.willesdenherald.com/competition/welcome.php

and check the complete list of writing prompts that we used last night: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2006/5/4wiencek.html

Good luck writing this weekend, all!

Jenny

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 13--Even Better

Not so much word count-wise but I'm in a better frame of mind, so I have high hopes for the next three days that I will get caught up and even a bit ahead. I'm keeping my fingers crossed (which makes it a bit hard to type but I'm managing).

Great meeting last night, you guys. Awesome poems, Bob, and very inspiring critiques. I love it when we have a lot of give and take, trading ideas, ooh, pumps me right up.

Jennifer, I hope next time you'll go out for cheese because we seldom stay longer than an hour and only Bob had a beer, we girls had cranberry juice. Why, yes, we do live for adventure!

Jenny, I loved the prompts; their gruesomeness and sheer wackiness made a dreary rainy night fun. Thanks. I am impressed with your flurry of submissions too. Wanna do mine?

Line of the Day:
Jack overbalanced onto the foot of the bed as he tried to take off his slacks and keep looking at her. He lay there on his back kicking his foot to try and get the slacks off and they were flapping back and forth like a pennant in a strong wind and he kept talking while holding the end of his thigh and frowning while grunting and working his leg up and down to try and dislodge the fabric. Mona could feel her effort to suppress her laughter shaking the bed but Jack's antics were shaking the bed enough that he did not notice. "So we are going to a cocktail party at Major George's tomorrow night. His missus will call you. I forget her name." He finally kicked his slacks off and turned to her grinning like he expected praise for the accomplishment.

Daily total: 986 words
Running total: 20,145 words

Write on!
--Barbara



Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 12--Getting A Bit Better

Yesterday was a better day. Most of what I wrote was stream of consciousness, working out parts of the story on paper, but it counts. I'm still about 1000 words off pace but I'm gaining. I'm taking Alphie back to work with me and working him hard again. He'll complain, I know, but I won't listen. I'll just keep poking him until I get what I want.

Line of the day:
Lucia gets there on the arm of the notary Pietr Smit. We have not seen much of him yet. I need to focus one day’s writing on fleshing out his character and pumping up the contrast and the rivalry between Burke and Piet. What is Piet like? He is tall and thin and very blond. He is Dutch from Holland and he had come for a vacation when he was out of law school and stayed. That was almost ten years ago. He built a practice doing legal work for expats, oh, that is how he knows George and Susan and how he and Lucia get to the party so all characters can meet.

Daily total: 1,771 words
Running total: 19,159 words

See you tonight!
--Barbara

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 11--Hardly Any Words

I'll bring the camera Thursday, so be on time, everybody, so we can take a new group picture. Good idea, Jenny!

I'm struggling. I have fallen way short of word count the last two days and need to write about 3000 words today to catch up. I don't know what's the matter, I just can't settle down and focus. Today I have Alphie with me at work and, by golly, I'm determined to write at least half that--starting right now!

Line of the day: Burke started walking toward her and as he got closer she could smell the clean scent of him, a mix of spices and soap and something else she thought might just be his own scent, a distillation of all the exotic places his ancestors came from and all of the experiences of his life.

Too much thinking and not enough typing was my problem yesterday. I swear I won't think at all today. Cross my heart.

Daily total: 733 words (disgraceful!)
Running total: 17,388 words

On your mark, get set...GO!
--Barbara

DAM Gloves Done!




Last night after supper I very carefully finished the thumb and wove in all the tails to finish the third (second usable) glove for Durwood. Ta-da! All done and he likes them. They'll be a great addition to the Car Hat so he won't freeze his hands while driving. They could use some blocking but I don't think I'll get them back from him anytime soon.



And here's the yarn I'm using to make a House Hat to donate to Chocolate Sheep's call for Connor Caps. Even though I'm not much of a fan of blue, I like these three colors together (they're Connor's school colors). The pattern calls for 16" circs but I can't seem to use circular needles without my hands just aching. I always end up switching to DPNs. Anyone else have the same problem? Any solutions?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Time for a new picture!

It occurred to me, Barbara, that Jennifer isn't pictured with our group, so it's time for a new one. And I agree, Jennifer -- share! share! Can we see small snippets of what you're working on? As for you, Barbara, are you getting saucy again? Splendid! Keep going, you two...

Jenny

Day 10--Sucked

Not to be too blunt about it, but I just could not get into the rhythm of it so I'm a few hundred words behind. But today's my day off and I already have 200 words written, and it's still morning. I'm excited about the direction this morning's words took so I'll be sneaking back there to poke Alphie awake whenever I take a break of bathroom cleaning and vacuuming to see what's happening in the dark warm nighttime ocean between Lucia and Burke. Oooh, warm ocean, warm bodies. Ooh. It's no Destructicorn, Jenny, but it'll do for today.

You go, Jennifer! I am very impressed by your dedication and determination--or is that stubbornness? I, myself, am never stubborn. *ahem* I want to read a line or a little clump of what you're writing. No "line of the day"s yet? Come on, throw us one. Please? I'll go first...

Line of the day:

As she neared the boulder where she had left her clothes a voice came out of the darkness. “Did you remember a towel?” A small shriek escaped her lips before her conscious mind registered who had spoken. “Oh my God, Burke, you scared me half to death.” “I am sorry,” he said, “I did not mean to frighten you, but I saw you swimming and thought I would come out and join you. Then I thought that if I swam out to you, you might think I was a shark.” He laughed, a low sexy laugh. Lucia looked at him standing in the moonlight, his fists on his hips and his head thrown back. At first she thought he was nude but then she realized that he wore a racer’s swim suit rather than the baggy shorts that most men favored. She thought she would like to see him in the day light.


So, that's how Day 10 ended. Any wonder that it got interesting when I started today?


Don't forget Bob wants his critique this Thursday rather than next. (That's as much for me as for you.)

--Barbara

Monday, November 10, 2008

Destructicorn...

I lie. I cheat. I steal. I impale.

Okay, that's my line for the day. Don't know where it's going, but by golly, it's gotta go somewhere. I mean, come on, an evil unicorn? I'm loving it!

Jennifer, I'm glad to hear you're back on track. And 61 pages? In 10 days? Girl, you've got it going on!

Barbara, how's day 10 treating you? Go, Barbara, go!

Jenny

Back on Track....for Now!

Way to go with the three submissions Jenny! That's awesome!

I think I'm back on track for now....I managed to carve out some time and my new word count is 17,540 which is actually a few hundred words ahead of today's schedule. But I have two straight days of things taking place during the time I usually write.

20 more days to go!!!!! I cannot believe I have 61 pages completed so far. I don't think I have ever written a term paper that long!

Keep going Barbara...you are amazing!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Submission Day

Alright, I'm still motivated to do something this month, even if that something doesn't come close to writing a novel. Can't stop at one email, you know, when Barbara and Jennifer have to write 1657 words a day. So I sent off 3 submissions today. (Well, technically 2 of them won't go until tomorrow because they're postal, but I did drop them in the blue box today.) Jennifer and Barbara, keep on pluggin' -- and thanks for the butt-kick inspiration!

Jenny

Day 9--Why I Can't Write In Cafes

I left home around noon today wearing my "writer" hat and carrying my Alphasmart over my shoulder, and drove straight to the Harmony Cafe at the swanky new Goodwill on West Mason St. just a few blocks from home. I ordered a cup of herbal tea and claimed a table in the back of the not-very-crowded room. I should have known better. I got Alphie out, squared up my cap and started to write. Hordes of people, women mostly, came stampeding in ordering girly half-sandwich and a dainty cup of pasta salad lunches then they sat all around me chattering like a bunch of magpies. Could I ignore them? Of course not. Afflicted as I am with an inability to resist eavesdropping, I watched them and listened to their prattle while trying to focus on my story. I stood it as long as I could before I folded up my writing stuff, went next door to buy a few books (half price, people!) and then left about 1:45.

I drove straight to Atlanta Bread Company (two whole blocks) where I ordered a sandwich and bottle of water. I lucked out and got the booth in the front corner of the cafe away from the hubbub of the counter and other diners. A married couple in their 30s sat in the booth next to mine and he proceeded to spend their entire lunch talking about how he's trying to be the best stay-at-home dad for their daughter but he needs her support or maybe just an hour to himself once in a while (man, was I having flashbacks!). Well, I couldn't not listen. I did write, I did, but it was hard to focus. After I ate my lunch and got a cookie for dessert (I was being good) I wrote some more until I thought I had exhausted that tangent.

I packed up again at 3:00 and drove to the other end of the block to Starbucks. There I ordered herbal tea (which wasn't very good--Tazo Wild Orange, I think) and tucked myself into a corner. Again people came in and had conversations, 3 guys who looked Somalian or Ethiopian came in and they were having a conversation in their native tongue and I couldn't not listen to them even though I understood not one word. But I kept my fingers moving, determined to forge ahead of the minimum daily word requirement and maybe give myself a little cushion for later when things turn to crap.

Around 4:30 I zipped to Woodman's to get my favorite Sabor Latino yogurt and 2 bottles of Moose Drool and came home. I hurried to download my day's writing, confident that I had surpassed the daily quota and zoomed ahead. Download... download... download... click the "word count" button........1656! Eleven words short!!! $#%&@

So after supper I went back to my desk and wrote again and made it. But I learned that I am not good at writing in cafes. Not once did I think to turn my back on the room so that I wouldn't be distracted. I need to write in a sensory deprivation chamber. When I'm at my desk I have the door closed and I listen to classical music on headphones (okay, they're earbuds) so that if Don turns on the TV I can't hear it and I can't hear his breathing and I can't hear him turning the pages if he's reading. I am such a trial to myself.

Line of the day:
Bunny kept telling himself that he did not know, had never imagined what Manning was planning. He could not keep images of himself in chains locked in a cell with a tall, fire breathing, police officer bending over him accusing him of murder. Murder, murder, it kept echoing in his head. The startled look on Jack Spencer’s face when he felt the hand on his ankle, the disbelief when he was jerked backwards and sent tumbling in space. Bunny had stepped forward involuntarily to watch Jack’s windmilling body fall onto the razor sharp rocks and he saw the bright red blood bloom green in the water like sad flowers.

Daily word count: 2,036 words
Running total: 15,548 words

I'm just over 500 words ahead of the pace. Woohoo! I deserve a sundae!
--Barbara

Day 8--Crisis Of Motivation

Okay, I admit it, I was pouting because a glove I was finished knitting turned to crap so I sat on the couch in a really really crappy mood and punished myself by starting over and not writing until after 9 PM.

So, Jenny, no cafes were visited in the writing of my 1833 words yesterday. Natually because it was a cloudy and dreary day which would have been perfect for moody cafe sitting in, I stayed home. Today when it looks sunny but cold, I will go and check out at least the Harmony Cafe in the new Goodwill, if not Starbucks and Atlanta Bread. Although (contemplatively taps chin with one finger) I could visit each since they're only about a block apart from each other and only two blocks from here. Hmm, maybe I'll just get dressed right now, put on my "writer" hat, tuck Alphie under my arm and get outta here and not come back until I've written two days' worth.

Jennifer, I'm bouncing around too. No place does it say that your novel has to make sense or be written in order, nuh-uh. You can make as big a mess as you want and, let me tell you, I am making a mess.

Yay for emailing Rebecca Meacham, Jenny! You are such a talented writer, she would be a fool not to want to hitch her wagon to your star. Glad we could be an inspiration. (now if I could only be an inspiration to myself)

Hey, Yard-Bob, if you read this and it's not raining, or snowing, on Tuesday, wanna come over and finish the lawn? I'll call too just to make sure we connect. Is Writer-Bob doing any writing? Hope so.

Line of the day:
That night was the thirty seventh night in a row with no wind. During the day there was wind, plenty of wind. The trade winds blew out of the east as they are supposed to in this latitude, but when the winds dropped at sun down they did not just drop they died and did not resurrect until the sun rose in the morning. At first people laughed that the sun was dragging the winds with it as it made its way around the earth, but after a while the joke was not funny any more.

Daily word count: 1,833
Running total: 13,514 words

--Barbara

Pushing Right Along...

I'm hitting hurdles and skipping around in my novel in order to keep the momentum going, but it's hard!!!! (Insert dramatic sigh with a wrist pressed against my forehead for effect). Total word count to date is 12,279 which means technically I'm behind schedule. Unfortunately I cannot blame the guinea pigs, the cat, my job, or anything else for that matter...it's just me getting stuck but plugging along.

Ok..back to the novel......hmmm...wonder if I can use my blogging comments to up my word count....KIDDING!!!!!!!

Keep going Barbara! Good luck on the mentoring Jenny...she would be silly not to take on such a talented writer as yourself!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Question:

How many NaNoWriMo characters do you think speak English as a second language. It's a way to get around that contraction thing and have the stilted work in your favor! I'm telling you, Barbara, this is something to consider for next year. (Yes, I said next year -- you know you want to! Or at least I know you will come next November!)

Jennifer, Thursday was an impressive writing day for you at that word count, and that while you were waiting for a critique, to boot. Nicely done. I'm glad the critique was helpful. We all need whatever boost we can get.

So, I'm not NaNoWriMoing, but besides stating the obvious, I'm trying to follow in your examples and light a fire under my own butt. I finally emailed Rebecca Meacham today to ask her if she is interested in taking on a private student. Procrastination and self-doubt be damned, and I have you two to thank for the final push. So, "Thank you!"

Jennifer, is this weekend paying off like you hoped? Barbara, how are the cafes going? Bob, are you out there? Are you grounded?

Jenny

Second Glove?


What second glove? Why, I haven't started it yet.







What really happened is... there was something odd about the thumb so I tried to frog just the thumb, frogged too far down below the 10 thumb rows and couldn't save it. Can you tell I was frustrated?

Five!


Five fingers knitted. *uh, uh, uh* And, as you can see in this picture, not a moment too soon! I'm three fingers into the other glove too so his fingers should be toasty by noon today.


Here's an F.Y.I. for anyone overly impressed with my glove-making skills--I knitted the pinkie inside out on glove #1 the first go-round. I don't know how I managed to do that--either I picked up the stitches backwards or I picked up the needle and then twisted it. I also made the first two fingers so long that a lizard could have worn the glove. For anyone wondering, there are holes left between each of the fingers when you're knitting. I don't think you can avoid them. I just sew them closed when I'm weaving in all the tails.

Day 7--An Excellent Day!

Day 7 started out sunny and not too cool. I got to go out and clean up the garden, even raking up all the fallen tomatoes to prevent so many "volunteers" next summer. Don doesn't have the heart to pull them out so his number of tomato plants goes up. The sneaky devil.

Going to my desk and writing 500 words or so at a crack worked really well yesterday. It wasn't an onerous task and didn't make me feel like I was being punished. I have a hunch that most of what I wrote on Day 7 won't make the final cut but it's interesting nonetheless. Oh, the oddest outcome of not using any contractions popped up and I have to comment. When you're writing dialogue instead of saying "don't you?" you have to write "do you not?" How stilted is that??? (see below) But I have to keep remembering it's the word count that counts--quantity, not quality.

Line of the day:
Sam never knew if the latest questioner was of a higher rank than the last or not. He tried to give the third one, or maybe it was the fourth one, their address at the bungalow so they could leave. “I do not think that would be a good idea,” the policeman said, squinting at him as if measuring him for handcuffs. Sam had reached the end of his patience and began yelling. “Where do you think we are going to go on an island this small? We have paid our rent for the entire month and are probably going to stay for another one. We are not leaving.” The policeman pressed a hand on Sam’s shoulder trying to make him sit down again and behave but Sam was having none of it. He dug in his heels and stayed on his feet. “You think we killed that poor guy, do you not?”

Daily total: 1775 words
Running total: 11, 681 words

Helloooo? Is anybody out there?
--Barbara

Friday, November 7, 2008

Day 6--Thank God For Alphasmart

For some glorious reason for that little green keyboard triggers a flood of words. Maybe it's the 4-line screen, maybe it's the lack of wires, but whatever it is, using it lets me just type instead of spending all my time and energy casting about for the "perfect" words. Perfect, schmerfect, I just need words, and the Alphie lets me find them. I heart you, Alphie. *smooch*

Jennifer, I'm glad we didn't destroy you last night with our critiques. And I hope we can figure out a day, or a weekend, to have a little writing retreat. I could sure use it, although I think NaNo is helping my slump, which is what I was hoping for.

Line of the day:
Sam had been making Maxi laugh on the drive up from the bungalow by telling her that he was certain that there could not possibly be one thousand steps down to the dive site, so he was counting the steps. Maxi had her head down and was slightly hunched forward to balance the heavy awkward tank on her back. When she reached the landing she turned to look back at Sam and that was when she saw what she thought was a snorkeler in the water below them. “Look, Sam, there is a guy down there snorkeling in a shirt, shorts, and sandals.” Sam came down the last couple of steps to stand beside his wife and he looked down anxious to get down there himself and cool off. “Look at all the fish around him, honey,” Maxi said. “Do you think he is feeding them?” Sam lifted his mask with its corrective lenses to his eyes and peered down at the floating man. “Uh, Max, I do not think that guy is snorkeling.” He put out his hand and turned his wife away from the ocean. “I think we need to call the police or the rescue squad.” She started to turn back to look again but Sam held her tightly. “Do you mean…?” Her eyes widened in horror. He nodded. Before he could answer she had pushed past him and climbed up so fast she was almost to the top by the time he moved his feet. “Come on, Sam, haul ass up here and let us go get help.”

I plan to try some cafe writing in the three cafes closest to home this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed (when you're not trying to write, that is)!
--Barbara